1. to provide an opportunity for Christians to talk about doubts with an educated and compassionate listener who will empathize, engage and encourage toward Christ.
2. to train Christians on how to have conversations in a way that honors the person, substantially engages the doubt, and shepherds toward Christ.
3. to create and reference apologetic media that is substantial in content and compassionate in tone.
“God is just an invention that humans created to deal with the harsh realities of the world.” A statement like that began several weeks of my college Sociology professor giving his apologetic for atheism.
“If you believe in God, you need to leave it at the door. God is not welcomed in scientific inquiry.” As a Christian, it was difficult to know how to process that statement from a psychology professor.
“I know they call it the theory of evolution, but it’s pretty much a fact. Science has demonstrated that there is no God.” This was said by my Biology professor the first week of classes.
I had no idea how to answer these brilliant scholars. Since they were assumed authorities, their words carried more weight and felt more convincing. I was scared, confused, and ready to leave my faith behind.
It was in that moment in time, God placed in my path Dr. J.P. Moreland’s Love God with All Your Mind. Dr. Moreland was a scholar with a different voice – a distinctly Christian voice that intellectually contended for the truth of Christianity. This was the first book I read of my own choosing (not assigned). Dr. Moreland challenged me to think deeply and rationally about my faith. At the end of that book, I felt significantly more confident in my faith. I started to take my faith more seriously. I found myself naturally giving Jesus more of my heart.
Taking time to explore those questions that you have about your faith, Jesus, other religions and the tensions/doubts you are currently holding, I believe, can be an essential part of the discipleship process and can make a huge difference in giving your heart to Jesus.
But so few churches take this aspect of discipleship seriously. I would wager to guess that less than 1% of all churches have a formal apologetics ministry. I would also guess that about the same number have someone identified in their church as someone who is educated and trained to lovingly process doubts with Christians in the body.
Alister McGrath said, “Apologetics is not simply about reaching outside the church and helping people realize why Christianity makes so much sense. There are many people inside church congregations who are wrestling with apologetic questions; who come to faith but haven’t …had all of their questions answered. I think the pastor, the preacher, needs to realize if they want their people to be good and minister to the faith, apologists and evangelists, they’ve got to be equipped. They’ve got to be reassured about their faith. They’ve got to be helped to be able to explain it and defend it in the secular marketplace.” He goes on to say… “there’s a real need for the local church to see this kind of ministry as a priority in our present cultural situation.”
My hope and desire with the Doubting Thomas Mission is to create safe places all over the country for Christians to process doubts whether through passionate individuals who make themselves available or formal church ministries that set up a means by which they can disciple their people through doubts.